Kelechi Iheanacho, who is struggling to hang on to his roster spot on Manchester City, became an interesting footnote in FA Cup history as he became the first player ever in the competition to come into a game as a fourth substitution. The Nigerian was the first to take advantage of a new rule for the 2016-2017 season in which managers are allowed an additional substitution in extra time even if they already made three substitutions in regulation. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had already brought in Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Fernando as substitutes. But once an extra time goal was made by Arsenal, Guardiola put Iheanacho in on the hope of a late spark. Unfortunately, Arsenal ended up winning 2-1. With the loss, Manchester City’s chances at a Premier League title are extremely slim, as they are 11 points off the leaders, Chelsea.
Iheanacho, a 20-year-old under contract with Manchester City until 2021, was thought to be a prime candidate for starting at some point this season, especially with Guardiola, a coach with a reputation for showing trust in younger players, at the helm. However, Iheanacho has been unable to supplant veteran free agent signing Gabriel Jesus. The fact that Iheanacho was only brought on as Guardiola’s fourth option in a desperate situation should denote how far down Iheanacho finds himself on Manchester City’s pecking order. This has led to rumors that the club may loan him out to German club Hoffenheim. Iheanacho commented to BBC Sport: “I cannot pretend that I don’t hear what people back home say about my lack of regular football but I will continue to fight.” Iheanacho has scored five goals in his eight career appearances on Nigeria’s national team, and won the Most Valuable Player award at the 2013 U-17 World Cup, so Nigerians hope his pedigree spurs him to better performance in the British Premier League.